Vape advertising and teenagers

Although vaping companies say they are not targeting a young audience, the appearance of their ads say otherwise.


Shutterstock image taken by Dawn Gilligfan.

Anakin Morales-Jimenez , Reporter

I am certain that several of us have heard or been directly involved in the JUUL hype— a newer and slim electric vape pen that allows users to vape discreetly with a flavor of their choice. Why is it such a craze in our culture? It is thanks to how the teenage population has taken such a liking to it.

Despite vaping companies claiming that they abide by the law, in which all fifty states mandate the ban of e-cigarettes for minors, there are several instances in which there are no significant barrier on the ability for a teenager to buy the vape moderators and the liquids.

Some retailers do have a system that has an age verification system to verify that buyers are above the age of 21 to purchase the vaping products, but only a limited number of sites use the system.

All the advertisements that schools and independent websites nationally present to teenagers to stay drug-free and/or report a peer who uses any drugs, including e-cigarettes and vape moderators, are mostly useless as there are still reported cases of teenagers using drugs.

The Center for Disease Control reported along with the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2015 that approximately two million, or 16%, teenagers in the United States vape regularly.

Let’s face it— it’s actually not peer influence most of the time; virtually no one would willingly hand out their drugs for free. The hype stems from the media: more specifically, advertisements.

Take a look at this advertisement for example.

Interesting choice of font, a colorful theme, odd wording with the need to say “for adults only!”, and the advertised vape juice flavor. It seems pretty fishy to call this an advertisement that is only designed to catch the attention of adults who vape since gummy bears are usually marketed to children.

Vaping companies also tend to fail to mention that despite vaping being less dangerous than regular cigarette smoking that there are still risks involved.

“…there is evidence that e-cigs deliver some toxic stuff of their own such as formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), nitrosamines (linked to cancer) and lead (a neurotoxin),” states Scientific American, “Though the toxicant levels of e-cigs may be ‘9–450 times lower than in cigarette smoke,’… levels of formaldehyde and metals have been found to be comparable to or higher than those found in conventional cigarettes. Silicate particles, which are a cause of lung disease, have also been found in e-cigarette vapors.”

Solutions to combat the trend are to be found, but for now, the best thing to keep in mind is that health matters most. And with health comes with making rational decisions on our everyday actions.

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